Audit of the Oulu University of Applied Sciences 2024

Higher education

Oulu University of Applied Sciences passed the FINEEC audit – strengths include a quality system supporting strategic management and competence-based curriculum work

Oulu University of Applied Sciences passed the audit conducted by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). Oulu UAS received special praise from the audit team for the use of the quality system in strategic management and steering of activities. The UAS has an inclusive and community-based way of working. The strengths also include the systematic development of competence-based and working life-oriented education.

Competence-based and working life-oriented education is systematically promoted 

Oulu University of Applied Sciences (UAS) plays an important role as an educator serving the world of work and promoting the vitality of Northern Finland. The development of the educational provision is systematic and working life oriented. This is reflected in an increase in provision of international degree programmes, an increase in study spots for nurses and bioanalysts, and the development of continuous learning provision. 

Curricular reform and strengthening the competence-based approach have been accompanied by excellent pedagogical development work in collaboration with professional teacher education. In addition, the UAS has done a lot of work to develop study counselling and to enable a smooth student pathway. However, the practices of recognition of work-based learning, i.e. the recognition of competences acquired while working during the studies, need to be further clarified.

The degree programmes are being developed based on a wide range of feedback. A good example of an effective feedback system is the work-life audits, which provide information on the relevance of education to the world of work. In addition, links with the regional working life have been strengthened by making stakeholder forums part of the regular management of each educational field.

  • The course feedback system has been identified as a development challenge in Oulu UAS. The audit team recommends that students are systematically informed about how their feedback is used. In addition, the UAS should ensure that all students receive feedback on their competences, says Päivi Karttunen, Vice Rector Emerita, Chair of the audit group.

The impact objectives of the UAS are clearly defined

Oulu University of Applied Sciences has clearly articulated the objectives of social impact and the management of impact. The UAS has a well-functioning practice of partnership agreements and active networking cooperation with the University of Oulu, the City of Oulu, the Oulu Chamber of Commerce and other regional actors. Alumni activities are well organised at Oulu UAS and provide significant support for the development of educational content and the planning of research, development and innovation (RDI) activities.

The RDI activities of Oulu University of Applied Sciences are well integrated into the working life of the region and are renewing it through numerous projects. The UAS's artistic activities are also strongly networked and have a visible impact in the region and nationally.

  • Oulu University of Applied Sciences should communicate its impact and successes more strongly at regional, national and international level. This clearly emerged in the stakeholder interviews, tells Päivi Karttunen.

The quality system provides excellent support for the management of the UAS

Oulu University of Applied Sciences has a comprehensive quality system that provides excellent support in achieving the strategic goals of the university. The information provided by the quality system enables the UAS to manage and develop its activities consistently. Strategy monitoring data and conclusions are compiled in an annual quality report.

Oulu University of Applied Sciences has a long-term and goal-oriented approach to developing the competence and supporting the well-being of its staff. There is a need to continue the supervisor training to further support the staff competence development and work-life balance. 

  • The audit team was convinced that Oulu UAS has an open operating culture that supports development, which, together with diverse means of participation, enables the involvement of students, stakeholders and staff in the development of activities, says Karttunen.

As of 2020, Oulu University of Applied Sciences has purchased educational services from the University of Oulu. The audit team recommends that Oulu UAS and the University of Oulu update the cooperation agreement on educational services and jointly define the service descriptions and quality criteria for the services.

The Oulu University of Applied Sciences passed the audit conducted by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) and was awarded a quality label for six years. Passing the audit shows that the activities and the quality system of the university of applied sciences meet both the national criteria and the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. The audit focuses on the higher education institution’s procedures for maintaining and enhancing the quality of education, RDI actitivities and societal interaction. The audit criteria have been published in FINEEC's Audit manual for higher education institutions.

The audit report is available on FINEEC’s audit platform

For more information, please contact the audit project manager:

Sirpa Moitus.

Sirpa Moitus

Counsellor of Evaluation
Higher education
+358 29 533 5518 Helsinki